Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The plot continues to thicken: Wall Street Funds Hold Hundreds of Millions in Sanctioned Russian Bank Subject to Kushner Probe

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Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:

The 2017 Memorial Day weekend will inevitably go down in history as the three-day span when remembrances of our military veterans took a media backseat to President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and everything Russian.

One of the key areas under multiple probes is a meeting Kushner held in December with Sergey Gorkov, the Chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), a Russian state-owned bank which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014 for Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine. What this meeting was about has yet to be officially determined.

Reuters reported on Saturday that “FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.”

Financial dealings with a Russian bank that remains under U.S. sanctions can result in serious penalties – or not. Wall Street On Parade conducted research into filings made at the Securities and Exchange Commission for fixed income securities issued by Vnesheconombank and found that some of the biggest names in Wall Street banking and mutual funds in the U.S. hold, cumulatively, hundreds of millions of dollars in notes and bonds issued by the Russian bank.

Fidelity Advisor’s Emerging Markets Income Fund shows it held more than $62 million in VEB fixed income securities as of December 31, 2016. Various Deutsche Bank mutual funds that operate in the U.S. own tens of millions of dollars of VEB debt securities. JPMorgan’s Emerging Markets Debt Fund shows that as of November 30, 2016, it held $20.5 million in VEB debt securities, although, curiously, it has the position assigned to its Ireland holdings. Other big mutual fund names showing VEB assets are PIMCO, Putnam, and Vanguard.

The U.S. mutual funds are apparently able to continue to hold these assets because of the wording of the U.S. Treasury’s sanction announcement that was issued on July 16, 2014. The sanction order prohibited “new financing” to VEB but was silent on what banks should do with the hundreds of millions of dollars of VEB securities already in their portfolios.

The U.S. Treasury defines VEB as follows: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 May 2017 at 9:36 am

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